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Thursday, 03 March 2011 03:11

Everybody Switch! Armory Art Week Begins Amid Epidemic of Gallery Swapping

John Chamberlain’s 'Onecaratstud.' John Chamberlain’s 'Onecaratstud.'

As New York's Armory Arts week kicks off, the art world is playing something of a manic game of "Where's Waldo?" Or, rather, "Where's Kehinde?"  In a mass migration of talent, more than 50 artists have jumped ship to new galleries over the past two years, creating a very different art scene than the one that existed before the recession.

Whether it's for production money, a bigger cut of sales or more wall space, or due to the closing of galleries like Deitch Projects, Bellwether and Goff + Rosenthal, and the downsizing of other's stables (Andrea Rosen, Zach Feuer), the resulting moves represent the biggest reshuffling of the art-world since the market crashed in the early 1990s, according to several art dealers and artists. "During times of economic strain, there's always a lot of free-radical movement going on," said art adviser Todd Levin of the Levin Art Group, as some dealers and artists turn "skittish"— and make tracks.

Winners and losers in the broad shake-up? Paul Kasmin, who's showing William Copley at the Art Dealers Association of America fair this week, a recent "get" from David Nolan Gallery, has gone on something of a raiding spree—of rival Marlborough in particular. Mary Boone has recently snagged three artists from other galleries, including cult painter Peter Saul, to add to a stable that includes Terence Koh and Eric Fischl. David Zwirner and Hauser & Wirth have also beefed up their rosters at the expense of smaller players.

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